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COVID-19 cases on the rise for unvaccinated in the Valley, health experts say

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As COVID-19 cases slowly spike across the Rio Grande Valley, local health authorities say more unvaccinated people are finding themselves needing intensive care.

Health authorities say vaccine hesitancy is beginning to reflect who is testing positive for the virus and arriving at Valley hospitals.

"The people who have not been vaccinated, which are going to be the ones that turn positive, are the ones that are not old," said Hidalgo County Health Authority Dr. Ivan Melendez.

In the most recent COVID-19 report from Cameron County, 12 people between the ages of 10 and 59 tested positive for the virus.

In Hidalgo County, two of the three reported deaths were people in their 20’s.

Health officials say the majority of those fully vaccinated are seniors, leaving the virus to be more transmissible among unvaccinated people with likely chronic health issues. 

"The number one comorbidity in the Rio Grande Valley that is contributing to people dying or having significant symptoms of COVID-19 is obesity," said Melendez. "The second most common factor is diabetes."

While health authorities say the chances of dying from COVID-19 for young people are slim, severe symptoms could send you to the hospital and leave you with long-term health effects.

"If you do get it more severe, there's not much that could be done to change those long-term consequences at this point," said Cameron County Health Authority Dr. James Castillo. 

Experts say the best way to avoid the consequences of a COVID-19 death or long-term health issues is to get vaccinated.

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